I haven’t made it this far to give up so easily, just eking out the last few shows. I said I wanted to make them count. To see whatever the best show is on that night, every night until the end. But man, it’s not always that easy. Like Tuesday night when I got back from Bristol, CT and just picked a band playing a late show at Cake Shop. Or like tonight, where I did the same thing, but at Pianos. And just like last night, I was pleasantly surprised. But it wasn’t an easy road getting there.
I was supposed to see Starfucker @ Union Hall, but I had to work late enough that I didn’t think I’d make it there in time. I even paid my subway fare, sat and waited for the R train, but then bailed worried that if I missed it, then I wouldn’t make it back to Manhattan in time to see anything on the LES. So I left headed toward the LES.
Got to Ludlow, bought some dinner, tried to use my ATM card, but nothing. Card was declined. Not for lack of funds, but “No account.” Huh? That’s weird. Must be their machine, I thought. I get to Pianos expecting the band Wolff to be on. They were scheduled for 10, but things never run on time. Nope. They were going on at 11p instead, the band before them went on at 9p and were just finishing up. Damnit. Ok, so maybe I’ll go to Mercury Lounge and try and catch something.
I get there, don’t feel like paying $10 for some bands I have no idea about, especially when there’s hardly anyone there. Damnit, back to Cake Shop. Some weird showcase going on. Not into it. Let me get money, at least I can go into Pianos and grab a beer while I wait for Wolff. I try the ATM outside Pianos. Nope, declined. I try the other ATM a few feet away. Nope, declined. I try another ATM across the street. It’s out of order. Then another ATM outside Cake Shop. Nope, declined.
What the fuuuuuuuuuck?!?!?
I call my bank. Can’t get through, keep getting cut off. At this point I’m thinking this is karma reigning down on me for not making it out to Union Hall since I was on the guest list, and it’s the last 10 days of the project and here I am, picking a band pretty much at random. Then I remember, that’s not it at all. It occurs to me that I received a replacement ATM card from my bank that I hadn’t activated yet. Oops.
So I grab some cash, take a couple deep breaths, and then head into Pianos about 15 minutes early for the Wolff show. There’s a total of four people in the music room while they finish setting up. When they start playing, 10 minutes earlier than their set time, I’m one of three people in the room. Then I think those people leave at some point and I might be the only on in the room.
That doesn’t last long as people continue to file in and out of the room throughout the night. Intrigued I assume by a guy with a tuba, and a guy on drums, and Planet Earth visuals being projected onto the backdrop of the stage. Or maybe it’s because the show was free. Either way, I was glad to be there, despite the annoying bullshit that happened before.
I checked Wolff’s myspace page before leaving work, as a Plan B in case I bailed on Starfucker. It seemed like an interesting band. Brian Wolff on tuba/vocals/samples/loops/effects pedals/everything under the sun. Steve Garafano on drums. Brian’s tuba is hooked up to his effects board, so every sound you hear (save for the live drums), comes from him blowing into the tuba, and manipulating the sound in real time.
Nothing is pre-programmed, but plenty of things are layered on top of each other. He even turned the tuba into a microphone sings through it. Truly fascinating as a fan of music, and pedal/gear freak. I think Steve was playing to a metronome as well, and he was fucking automatic. Like a human drum machine.
The music itself comes out like industrial/electronica. And the visuals really help the experience, especially during “Bull Elephant,” which I thought was the highlight of the show/rehearsal. That’s what Steve kept repeating throughout the night, ‘Welcome to our show slash rehearsal.”
Whatever it was, it was a really unique, interesting, fascinating, and fulfilling experience. And probably better than the two Starfucker songs I would’ve seen had I made the trek to Brooklyn.